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DINA ROSE, PhD is a sociologist, parent educator and feeding expert empowering parents to raise kids who eat right.
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Dinner Together Building Healthy Families One Meal at a Time.

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Raise Healthy Eaters One of the best blogs (other than my own) for learning to raise healthy eaters.

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Entries in Fruit (17)

Monday
Jun132016

Study: Fresh Fruit is Better Than Candy. Can You Say, "Duh?"

Yes, we need this kind of research, but really, I don't think anyone would be surprised by the results. Which snack is more filling? 

  • 65 calories of mixed berries (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries)
  • 65 calories of a fruit-flavored candy (made with real fruit juice)

Give people a snack: one day candy, another day fruit. An hour later, let them eat as much pasta as they want. What happened?

A 20% increase in pasta calories after the candy compared to the fruit.

  • The candy snackers consumed 825 calories' worth of pasta
  • The fruit snackers consumed 690 calories' worth of pasta

From a nutrition perspective, fruit is clearly healthier than candy. But it's the habits perspective that matters more.

From a habits perspective, it is important to teach kids that fruit and vegetables are the go-to food. Plus, every bite pays off. The better your kids eat at snack, the less you have to worry about how well they eat at dinner. 

Read Fruit and Vegetables at Every Meal and Every Snack, Every Darned Day and 10 Ways Improving Your Kids' Snacking Will Improve YOUR Life.

This was a small study, only 12 women, but I don't think we need much more to establish that eating fruit holds you over between meals better than candy.

Candy ingredients: Sugar, Glucose Syrup (contains Sulphites), Water, Gelatine, Concentrated Fruit Juices** (1%) (Apple, Strawberry, Blackcurrant, Raspberry), Acid (Citric Acid), Colours (Anthocyanins, Vegetable Carbon), Flavourings, **Equivalent to 5.5% Fruit Juice

Fruit ingredients: Fruit

  • Less sugar
  • More volume
  • More fiber
  • More chewing

And...reinforcing the importance of the mind: researchers speculate that the fruit snack may have produced higher expected satiety. People think they're fuller and more satisfied so afterwards they eat less food.

Enough said!

Thanks to The Center for Science in the Public Interest for writing about this study in their Jan/Feb 2016 Nutrition Action Healthletter.

~Changing the conversation from nutrition to habits.~

Source: James, L. J., M. P. Funnell, and S. Milner. 2015. “An Afternoon Snack of Berries Reduces Subsequent Energy Intake Compared to an Isoenergetic Confectionary Snack.” Appetite 95: 132-37.

Wednesday
Sep022015

The Power of "Fruit"

Q1: Which contains more fruit, Strawberry Pop-Tarts or Mott's Apple Juice?

Think that's a trick quesiton? Tempted to say, "neither?" Well here's the shocker: the Strawberry Pop-Tarts win because they have trace amounts of dried strawberries, dried pears, and dried apples. The Motts Apple Juice? Nada.

Source: depositphotos

  • Of course, the Pop-Tarts are loaded with sugar. My quick count reveals at least 4 different kinds of sugar. 
  • But here's the thing: the Mott's Apple Juice contains only water, sugar and Vitamic C. In other words, it's vitamin-fortified sugar water. Read Water vs Punch and Soda.

Q2: Which is healthier, Strawberry Pop-Tarts or Mott's Apple Juice?

If you're like most people, you'll say it's the juice. And on some dimensions, you'd be right. After all, the Pop-Tarts are loaded down with preservatives.

But here's something else....

Research shows people think products that contain "fruit sugar" otherwise known as "fruit concentrate," are healthier than products that contain plain old sugar. It's the power of symbolic wording.

Here's one study.

Participants were asked to evaluate two children's cereals that were identical in every way except:

  • One label said "sugar." 
  • The other label said, "fruit sugar." 

(The study was conducted in a German-speaking part of Switzerland where they call fruit concentrate fruit sugar.)

Participants consistently evaluated the "fruit sugar" cereal as healthier than the "sugar" cereal. Even people who were rated as being health conscious were just as susceptible to this belief.

You know the power of marketing. And that marginal foods can benefit from the health halo emanating from healthy foods.

The health halo isn't limited to fruit. For instance, adding yogurt to raisins, nuts or pretzels can make them seem healthier. In reality, though, that yogurt coating is some combination of partially hydrogenated palm kernel oil, whey powder, yogurt powder and sugar. YUM! Read Is "Yogurt-Covered" Really Yogurt?

But consider this...

One reason consumers are swayed by the fruit health halo is the pressure to get fruit into our kids makes us do crazy things.

Use "Fruit" To Teach Your Kids Healthy Eating Habits

1. Talk to your children about food in terms of the kinds of food they are and the habits they produce, not what ingredients they contain.

In this model, muffins are cake, juices are sugary beverages, fruit strips are candy.

2. Don't ban muffins (or cakes), juices (or sugary beverages) or fruit strips (or candy).

Think about proportion (how often your kids eat different kinds of food). Teach your kids to eat these treats infrequently. (Yes, that daily muffin habit has got to go.)

3. Stop talking "up" fruit. Just start eating it.

The real stuff. And the more often, the better.If you must talk it up, talk about how tasty it is, not how healthy it is. Read Fruits and Vegetables at Every Meal and Every Snack--Every Darned Day.

4. Educate your kids about the health halo marketing strategy.

Research shows that parents can disrupt (though not eliminate) the influence marketers have on our kids. Read Revealing the Truth in Advertising.

~Changing the conversation from nutrition to habits.~

Source: Sutterlin, B. and M. Siegrist. 2015. “Simply Adding the Word "Fruit" Makes Sugar Healthier: the Misleading Effect of Symbolic Information on the Perceived Healthiness of Food.” Appetite 95: 252-61.

Tuesday
Jan272015

Moving recess to before lunch increases fruit and vegetable consumption

Having recess before lunch increases fruit and vegetable consumption!

Don't you just love it when researchers study— and then discover—the obvious?

Hmmm...let's see...requiring kids to take a fruit or a vegetable doesn't increase consumption, but making sure kids are extra hungry before lunch does. 

When lunch is scheduled before recess, kids are encouraged to minimize eating time. And that usually means cutting out the fruits and vegetables.

This is especially true for kids who value playing and running around.

Two takeaways for feeding kids at home:

  1. Structural changes can have a big effect. For instance, sometimes feeding children dinner at 4:30 solves all the evening eating/meltdown/control struggle problems. (Still want a family dinner experience? Let kids eat their dinner early, so that you're not fighting about snacks and then let your children eat dessert when the adults eat.)
  2. Often parents inadvertently create an incentive for children to do the opposite of what we would like them to do. One example that comes to mind is the strategy of providing an appealing after-dinner snack that kids really like. This encourages some children to skip (or minimize eating) at dinner. After-dinner/before-bed snacks should be acceptable but not preferred.

Moving recess to before lunch increased the number of fruit and vegetable servings by 65% in one study.

It also increased the percentage of children eating fruits and vegeatbles by 69%

Other benefits schools have reaped from moving recess to before lunch:

  • More food being eaten overall (decreasing, presumably, excessive afternoon hunger that often leads to poor academic performance and unhealthy snacking).
  • Less wasted food.
  • Calmer lunchroom atmosphere.
  • Decrease in disciplinary problems.

And remember, changing the timing of recess is free. 

As are the structural changes you can make at home!

~Changing the conversation from nutrition to habits.~

Source: Price, J. and D. R. Just. 2015. “Lunch, Recess and Nutrition: Responding to Time Incentives in the Cafeteria.” Preventive Medicine 71: 27-30.